Is Microblading a Tattoo? Let’s Clear Up the Confusion

Is Microblading a Tattoo? Let’s Clear Up the Confusion

Microblading is so popular at the moment everyone’s heard about it at some point. It’s become such a huge trend that it’s available at many salons, and so many people are getting it. If someone’s bomb brows catch your eye, there’s a good chance they’ve had microblading.

But with so much buzz around it, there’s all sorts of misleading information and confusion related to microblading. Primarily, is microblading a tattoo or not?

PMUHub clears up the confusion once and for all.

Is Microblading a Tattoo?

Yes, but not the permanent kind.

Microblading is not a traditional body art tattoo that you probably have in mind. It falls under a subcategory of tattooing, called cosmetic tattoos.

It’s actually a new generation of eyebrow tattoos, much more advanced, and a much better solution. Although the principle behind cosmetic and traditional tattooing is the same – the skin is opened and color is inserted to achieve the desired effect – there are some key differences.

Is Microblading a Tattoo?Image source: Instagram @phibrows_indy

The Difference Between Microblading and Traditional Tattoos

Since microblading is done on the face, and since its purpose is to recreate the look of wearing makeup rather than to create body art, the tattooing technique had to be adjusted.

The key properties that differentiate microblading from a tattoo are:

1. Method of Application

While body tattooing is done with a tattoo gun or machine, microblading is a manual technique, meaning it’s done with a hand-held blade. The tool used features a very fine blade made up of several needles that’s dragged through the skin to create incisions shaped like brow hairs.

Alternatively, it’s possible to do microblading with a PMU machine that’s still different from the one used for tattooing. This type of cosmetic brow tattoo is called nano brows.

2. Depth of Color Implementation

Traditional tattooing implants ink into the dermis, the second layer of the skin. This ensures the tattoo is not affected by the skin’s cell turnover – only the cells from the outermost layer are shed.

With microblading, the pigment is deposited a bit more shallowly into the skin. It goes just below the junction of the epidermis – the skin’s surface layer – and into the dermis. 

Since the depth of the implementation is a bit more shallow, microblading is considered less invasive than a tattoo. It’s also less painful.

PMU vs Tattoo - pigment and ink depth into the skin

3. The Composition of the Color Injected

Tattooing is done with tattoo ink. Microblading is done with permanent makeup pigments.

While tattoo ink isn’t affected by the body’s immune system (or it is, but to a very limited extent), the body breaks down PMU pigments and extracts them, although a certain amount of residue always stays in the skin. 

4. Longevity

Tattoos are meant to last a lifetime. Microblading is meant to fade.

The average lifespan of microblading is around 18 months. By that point, the pigments become gradually lighter and lighter until they become invisible. In some cases, microblading doesn’t fade entirely but leaves some visible residue, but unless you touch them up and replenish the pigment, you’ll lose the results.

For more information on the longevity of microblading, read this article.

Then Why Is It Called Permanent Makeup?

Some artists refer to microblading as permanent makeup because it is technically a tattoo, and a certain amount of pigment stays in the skin forever, although you may not see it after a while. 

Others refer to it as semi-permanent, because it tends to fade faster than a traditional tattoo. In many cases, it becomes completely invisible. 

In any case, microblading lasts a lot longer than regular makeup and that is another reason it’s called permanent. 

Cosmetic tattoos are often called permanent makeupImage source: Instagram @mandydormaierbrows

Why Is Microblading Better than Traditional Tattooing for the Brows?

Microblading gives the eyebrows a natural-looking enhancement that a traditional tattoo never could. It fills in the brows with strokes that are indistinguishable from natural hairs, while tattooing could only give the brows the look of a block of color.

But perhaps the biggest advantage of microblading over traditional tattooing of the brows is the fact that it fades. This gives you the option of modifying the look of your brows every couple of years, or letting them go back to their natural state if you decide you don’t want the enhancement anymore.

That’s why microblading should never be done with regular tattoo ink – after all, it goes on your face and there’s no way to hide your brows if you get something that lasts forever and decide you don’t want it anymore after 5 or 10 years.

To Wrap Things Up

The question is microblading a tattoo is kind of complex.

Microblading technically is a type of tattoo, but the cosmetic kind. It’s not permanent, and it fades after a certain time. It’s often referred to as a brow tattoo because colors are injected into the skin of the brows, but there are many things that differentiate it from traditional tattooing done for the purpose of body art.

So don’t worry – if you decide to get microblading, you won’t be stuck with it forever.

For more information on the difference between microblading and traditional tattooing done on the brows, check out this article.

Cover image source: Pexels


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